Liberals and Racism

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Liberals and Racism

Post by Coach on Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:49 am

Make no mistake; my intention isn’t to praise or defend the Tea Partiers or the braying geriatrics who bum-rushed the health care reform town halls two summers ago. It is to ask why liberals, when faced with the political idiom of the American Right, gravitate so insistently toward racialized accounts of their motives. The Right talks endlessly about freedom, defined as negative liberty; yet liberals in their ordinary political discourse have no critique of the right-wing concept of freedom. The Right loudly and consistently champions free markets and capitalism; yet liberals have no principled critique of free markets or capitalism.

Unable or unwilling to articulate any coherent rebuttal of their opponents’ ideological rhetoric, liberals instinctively resort to accusations that the opposing ideology is covertly racist because racism – unlike Reaganite celebrations of the magic of the market – requires no refutation.
http://jacobinmag.com/summer-2011/liberals-and-racism/

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Re: Liberals and Racism

Post by Celtiberian on Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:57 am

Ackerman makes a good point. The liberals don't offer coherent arguments against the Right's conception of "freedom" (i.e., negative liberty), and that's primarily due to their implicit acceptance of the capitalist mode of production and their general disregard for philosophy. I mean, liberals could easily refute the values endorsed by the TEA baggers by simply invoking the Rawlsian 'difference principle,' but instead they choose the infantile route of accusing their opponents of covert "racism." It's pathetic.

Having said that, I wouldn't deny that there's an underlying xenophobic current within the TEA Party movement—but I seriously doubt the TEA Party wouldn't have emerged had a white candidate, like Hillary Clinton or John Edwards, won the presidency in 2008.

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"Nationality. . . is a historic, local fact which, like all real and harmless facts, has the right to claim general acceptance. . . Every people, like every person, is involuntarily that which it is and therefore has a right to be itself. . . Nationality is not a principle; it is a legitimate fact, just as individuality is. Every nationality, great or small, has the incontestable right to be itself, to live according to its own nature. This right is simply the corollary of the general principle of freedom."
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Re: Liberals and Racism

Post by TotalitarianSocialist on Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:23 am

Liberals are campaigners of racism. Racism is the weapon they use as a divide and conquer strategy. For example: Liberals spread propaganda about slavery, apartheid ect in order to make blacks have animosity towards whites, this causes whites to have animosity towards blacks. Many black and white people then are distracted from the real foe, the liberals and capitalists, the exploiters of people of all races.
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Re: Liberals and Racism

Post by Mojave on Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:22 am

I have long noticed this phenomenon. It has historical roots and illustrates, for me, the limitations of that tendancy/term (which in concrete terms is often distinctly illiberal). I was raised in an atmosphere of postwar, New-deal infused social justice and came of age in the American antisegregation and then anti-(Vietnam)war convulsions. Many good people from similar backgrounds emerged and flourished in that era. Some didn't make it through. They were the best of a movement possible under a (simultaneously) emerging Global corporate order. Many of those remaining liberals (I'll call them for simplicity), and their biological and political descendants seem somehow unwilling, despite a continuing need to confront real injustices, to concieve that the whole system- capitalism- needs to be challenged. They sometimes seem caught in the nevertime golden era of the revolutionary 60's, like an Eden, an Atlantis, a Camelot. Thus the real and continuing strains of ugliness and bigotry sometimes are seized upon with focused intensity, often to the exclusion of other elements and the greater picture. Sometimes racism is even exaggerated and occasionally manufactured. I feel all of these factors figure into the teabag thing and part of the reaction to it.

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Re: Liberals and Racism

Post by Anarcho-Edge on Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:06 am

No doubt,teabaggers are bigoted to some extent,but liberals exaggerate the amount of xenophobia they have.
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Re: Liberals and Racism

Post by Altair on Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:00 am

Racism is based on the erroneous notion that different races are inherently worth more or less, or have the ability to do more or less, due to their genetic makeup. When one begins to justify this mindset of biological determinism, such categorizations are then naturally aimed at justifying a social pecking order and eventually an entire society based upon these notions.

Racism expresses the reality of oppression and exploitation, and oppression and exploitation would not be as successful as it is without racism remaining a constant; as such, it does not point to any inherent inferiority. It tells us that capitalism caters to a specific type of person; the same people who helped to make racism such an integral part of our capitalist society in the first place (who would have guessed?), and it tells us that racism and capitalism cannot stand alone. They were made for each other.

Simply put, racism and capitalism enjoy a nice circle jerk, while politicians from both the Right AND the Left (who are all capitalists in the end) get in on the action. The Left as it exists today, the faux Left/the popular idea of the "liberal"...they are what we seek to destroy, along with the Right side of the spectrum. They are all equally as abhorrent and help perpetuate the evils in our society.


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Re: Liberals and Racism

Post by Celtiberian on Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:32 am

Altair wrote:Racism expresses the reality of oppression and exploitation, and oppression and exploitation would not be as successful as it is without racism remaining a constant; as such, it does not point to any inherent inferiority. It tells us that capitalism caters to a specific type of person; the same people who helped to make racism such an integral part of our capitalist society in the first place (who would have guessed?), and it tells us that racism and capitalism cannot stand alone. They were made for each other.

While I agree that a labor force divided by racial animosity can be beneficial for capital in certain instances, I disagree with the notion that capitalism requires human beings to be racist in order to function. As Noam Chomsky argued,

"See, capitalism is not fundamentally racist—it can exploit racism for its purposes, but racism isn't built into it. Capitalism basically wants people to be interchangeable cogs, and differences among them, such as on the basis of race, usually are not functional. I mean, they may be functional for a period, like if you want a super-exploited workforce or something, but those situations are kind of anomalous. Over the long term, you can expect capitalism to be anti-racist—just because it's anti-human. And race is in fact a human characteristic—there's no reason why it should be a negative characteristic, but it's a human characteristic. So therefore identifications based on race interfere with the basic ideal that people should be available just as consumers and producers, interchangeable cogs who will purchase all of the junk that's produced—that's their ultimate function, and any other properties they might have are kind of irrelevant, and usually a nuisance."
Chomsky, Noam. Understanding Power, p. 89.

Racism can, and often does, lead to movements for ethnic separatism. Should such a separation actually materialize, the benefits the bourgeoisie enjoyed via a divided labor force would obviously dissolve, so they don't necessarily have an incentive to support racism. It is my contention that an atmosphere just diverse enough to obstruct class solidarity, while not leading to overt racism or demands for separation, is most ideal for capital. When one analyzes the history of the American labor movement, for example, you can't help but be struck by how much more militant and organized the proletariat was when the nation was more ethnically homogenous. The reason for the correlation between ethnocultural homogeneity and labor radicalism, in my estimation, is because the only remaining division to be found among people within such a context is that of social class—thereby elevating issues of exploitation, inequity, and so forth, to the fore. (I don't believe that ethnocultural homogeneity is a necessary precondition for establishing class consciousness, only that it's more easily attained in such contexts.) In and of itself, however, ethnocultural homogeneity cannot produce class consciousness or revolutionary fervor; material conditions must be conducive to the fomenting of anti-capitalist sentiments for that to occur—which is why we don't currently find many (relatively) homogenous populations involved in anti-capitalist mass movements yet.

Nevertheless, labor militancy, national solidarity, and restrictive labor markets are barriers to capital accumulation. In order for the circulation of capital to flow unhindered, labor and capital mobility must be achieved. Therefore, you can expect the bourgeoisie to support policies instrumental toward that end.


Last edited by Celtiberian on Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:02 am; edited 4 times in total

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"Nationality. . . is a historic, local fact which, like all real and harmless facts, has the right to claim general acceptance. . . Every people, like every person, is involuntarily that which it is and therefore has a right to be itself. . . Nationality is not a principle; it is a legitimate fact, just as individuality is. Every nationality, great or small, has the incontestable right to be itself, to live according to its own nature. This right is simply the corollary of the general principle of freedom."
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Re: Liberals and Racism

Post by Mojave on Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:52 am

Well put, CeltIberian

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Re: Liberals and Racism

Post by Altair on Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:28 am

I suppose that was poor wording on my part. Neither racism nor capitalism require the other as a necessity; however, one definitely serves to perpetuate the other.

Racism encourages the working class to be divided against itself, thus encouraging certain segments of the proletariat (White men) to identify with their exploiters (usually other White men) and Black members to lack an identity altogether. This can lead to an impetus when it comes to the development of class consciousness and it undermines the unity which is necessary to challenge capitalist rule.

An example of this would be directly after the Civil War, during a time period known as the Reconstruction Era. Black Americans experienced a period where they were relatively free (politically) which continued with a new alliance that was formed between poor Black and White farmers, who had common grievances against landowners (who were former slaveholders and bankers from the North). This ended when Northern capitalists made amends with the Southern elites, and Blacks were quickly oppressed once again. Many poor White farmers were similarly oppressed, but as Whites they were able to more easily free themselves from the bondage of debt to their landlords. The capitalist-initiated exclusion of Blacks created an oversupply of Black labor, which drastically drove down the price of their wages. This eventually undermined the price of labor power for all workers, regardless of race. Since, however, Black workers were willing to work more for less, they were happy to take the jobs White men were unwilling to do, which served to create even more animosity; despite the fact that they were all poor farmers in the end, the racial prejudices at the time led Whites to believe the Blacks were inherently worth less because they were willing to work for less, and the whole situation helped further the notion amongst Blacks that racism derives from the exclusionary policies of our government borne from the prejudices of the White man, and not from policies that seek to serve capitalist aims.

Many Black and White workers are still under this impression despite the fact that White workers also suffer from reduction in the price of labor power resulting from racist practices.

In the meantime, the capitalists continued to gain profits because Blacks were systematically paid below the value of their labor power, all the while driving away the suspicion from the capitalist system itself and furthering racist practices which served to undermine unity between heterogeneous groups.

Capitalists continue to use societally propagated perceptions about race to their advantage.

The exploited minority worker will begin to think, after being subjected to racism for most of his career, that perhaps all he is able to do is work minimum wage jobs or will feel ostracized from other higher paying jobs in the long run after witnessing the stagnation of his brethren in terms of "success" (which was due to racism promoted by capitalists and not due to inherent inferiority in the first place, though they do not realize this because they have been cleverly redirected to blame the evil White man alone and not the system itself, a point which I have already illustrated). Thus, he will be willing to make a meager amount or even less because it is "all he can do" and will take what he can get. This allows the capitalist elite another way to decrease wages without fear of losing willing minority workers who will take just about any job; we saw this exact situation during the Reconstruction Era, and we see it even now.

Even if racism were to disappear from the picture altogether, the system would still have plenty of ways to exploit the worker, of this I have no doubt; however, I believe racism plays an integral role, and the issue is often times minimized in a way that it should not be.

I firmly believe that it is to the advantage of the elite to pit races against each other. The reasons I mentioned above are just a couple of ways that racist practices are used to keep us from the solidarity that could eventually lead to the eradication of the upper class and capitalism itself.

Though the abrogation of racism/the exploration of the minority worker may not necessarily be the sole reason for the working class to unite, it definitely will serve to make a total working class revolution infinitely more successful.

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Re: Liberals and Racism

Post by Celtiberian on Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:27 am

Altair wrote:I suppose that was poor wording on my part. Neither racism nor capitalism require the other as a necessity; however, one definitely serves to perpetuate the other.

I don't deny that racism can aid in the perpetuation of capitalism, but it can just as well undermine it. As I explained in my previous post, racism can lead to movements for separatism or against immigration, both of which are burdensome to the bourgeoisie. (There's a reason why contemporary governments and businesses endorse programs aimed at combating racism, and it has nothing to do with humanitarianism.)

Racism encourages the working class to be divided against itself, thus encouraging certain segments of the proletariat (White men) to identify with their exploiters (usually other White men) and Black members to lack an identity altogether. This can lead to an impetus when it comes to the development of class consciousness and it undermines the unity which is necessary to challenge capitalist rule.

Racism can certainly lead to class collaborationist sentiments, but only in certain contexts. War is a good example, e.g., "We have to unite against those Arab bastards who want to destroy our country!" But class consciousness arises when material conditions dictate. At the height of the labor movement in the United States, for example, the working class was quite conscious of its interests, but was nevertheless extremely racist. Employers supporting immigration policies (such as those which led to the mass influx of cheap Chinese migrant labor) and using recently freed Blacks as strikebreakers only exacerbated this racism. It didn't lead to class collaborationism; if anything, it produced the converse effect: Caucasian workers began blaming Caucasian capitalists for supporting policies which clearly aimed to drive down wages. Just as we find Caucasian workers blaming predominantly Caucasian politicians and capitalists for Mexican immigration today.

And while the increasing diversification of the United States is leading to a scenario whereby cross-racial proletarian collaboration may be necessary for the revolution to succeed, we're not quite there yet; and the nation definitely wasn't facing that predicament during the Reconstruction Era. In other words, racism played no role in preventing a revolution from occurring in the past, nor does it currently prevent revolution in Europe. Even with a completely bigoted workforce viciously discriminating against ethnic minorities, class consciousness can be established among the ethnic majority of the working class and a socialist revolution can transpire. During the Bolshevik Revolution, for example, the Russian proletariat and peasantry was overwhelmingly anti-Semitic, but Jews were a numerically insignificant minority. Ergo, antisemitism wasn't a hindrance to the revolution—despite the concerted Tsarist effort to portray members of the revolutionary leadership as being loathsome Jewish upstarts, hellbent on destroying traditional values, no less.

despite the fact that they were all poor farmers in the end, the racial prejudices at the time led Whites to believe the Blacks were inherently worth less because they were willing to work for less, and the whole situation helped further the notion amongst Blacks that racism derives from the exclusionary policies of our government borne from the prejudices of the White man, and not from policies that seek to serve capitalist aims.

That capitalists are responsible for the intraclass conflict which arose between Black and Caucasian workers during the Reconstruction Era is beyond dispute. But I believe you're committing a non sequitur when you infer that Caucasian workers suddenly began to view Blacks as somehow being inferior to themselves when they became willing to work for relatively less than Caucasians. Why wouldn't they have thought of Blacks as being inferior prior to this? Especially considering that it was routinely taught (from scientific courses to church pulpits) that Blacks were lesser people. Indeed, this view was so pervasive at the time that even union leaders and socialist theorists regarded Blacks as being innately inferior to Caucasians. It's quite possible that Caucasian and Black farmers entered into a strategic alliance with one another out of their class interests, while nevertheless holding prejudicial views toward one another.

In the meantime, the capitalists continued to gain profits because Blacks were systematically paid below the value of their labor power, all the while driving away the suspicion from the capitalist system itself and furthering racist practices which served to undermine unity between heterogeneous groups.

Black people continue to suffer from a culture of poverty, which began during the Reconstruction Era and has progressively gotten more severe over the decades. They generally disregard education because there is a (well founded) feeling of hopelessness in their economic situation. Consequently, they remain in social stasis as lumpenproletarians. Discrimination, while it still exists to an extent, is no longer what is holding back Black people. They need a total zeitgeist shift, which, even under a socialist mode of production, is going to take a great deal of time and effort.

Capitalists continue to use societally propagated perceptions about race to their advantage.


How so?

Even if racism were to disappear from the picture altogether, the system would still have plenty of ways to exploit the worker, of this I have no doubt; however, I believe racism plays an integral role, and the issue is often times minimized in a way that it should not be.

Minimized by who, exactly? Certainly not the cosmopolitan Left, as they have been obsessing over this issue for years now.

I firmly believe that it is to the advantage of the elite to pit races against each other. The reasons I mentioned above are just a couple of ways that racist practices are used to keep us from the solidarity that could eventually lead to the eradication of the upper class and capitalism itself.

I also believe the capitalists benefit, although perhaps not to the same extent as you think they do. Finland, for instance, is an overwhelmingly homogenous nation insofar as ethnicity and culture are concerned. The Finnish bourgeoisie cannot be benefiting much by racism, and yet the system continues to persist. The social welfare concessions undoubtedly must have helped, but the primary reason must be that Finnish capitalism, like capitalism in most of the West, was doing relatively well until the contradictions of the system began to manifest themselves recently. Racism isn't the only form of false consciousness, nor is it the most detrimental.


Last edited by Celtiberian on Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:24 pm; edited 3 times in total

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"Nationality. . . is a historic, local fact which, like all real and harmless facts, has the right to claim general acceptance. . . Every people, like every person, is involuntarily that which it is and therefore has a right to be itself. . . Nationality is not a principle; it is a legitimate fact, just as individuality is. Every nationality, great or small, has the incontestable right to be itself, to live according to its own nature. This right is simply the corollary of the general principle of freedom."
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Re: Liberals and Racism

Post by TheocWulf on Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:57 am

Celtiberian wrote:Racism can certainly lead to class collaborationist sentiments, but only in certain contexts. War is a good example, e.g., "We have to unite against those Arab bastards who want to destroy our country!" But class consciousness arises when material conditions dictate. At the height of the labor movement in the United States, for example, the working class was quite conscious of its interests, but was nevertheless extremely racist. Employers supporting immigration policies (such as those which led to the mass influx of cheap Chinese migrant labor) and using recently freed Blacks as strikebreakers only exacerbated this racism. It didn't lead to class collaborationism; if anything, it produced the converse effect: Caucasian workers began blaming Caucasian capitalists for supporting policies which clearly aimed to drive down wages. Just as we find Caucasian workers blaming predominantly Caucasian politicians and capitalists for Mexican immigration today.

The same can said of the UK in the 30s and 70s the average worker was to an extent xenaphobic perhaps even racist but it was the point in our history when our union power was in its hayday.On one hand the workers demanded pensions,health and safty,higher wages ect and on the other they were worried about non English/British people takeing "our jobs".The cosmo left who made up the elite of unions of course never really adressed the issue and that gap was filled by the National Front who in the 70s were a radical left wing working class movement.

Even today the Issue still resounds in the predominatly white working class communities up north many of the old Labour heartlands are now the areas the BNP get good support.

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Re: Liberals and Racism

Post by Celtiberian on Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:54 pm

TheocWulf wrote:The same can said of the UK in the 30s and 70s the average worker was to an extent xenaphobic perhaps even racist but it was the point in our history when our union power was in its hayday.On one hand the workers demanded pensions,health and safty,higher wages ect and on the other they were worried about non English/British people takeing "our jobs".The cosmo left who made up the elite of unions of course never really adressed the issue and that gap was filled by the National Front who in the 70s were a radical left wing working class movement.

This seems to be a fairly uniform phenomenon across multicultural nations. The coercive laws of capitalist competition, and the ever present lust for further accumulation, compelled the bourgeoisie to inflate the size of the labor market in order to depress wages. The most effective method to accomplish this task was obviously to encourage immigration. The domestic working class predictably reacted negatively to this introduction of foreign peoples into their nations, who they (correctly) viewed as being threats to their livelihood. The cosmopolitan Left, in turn, responded by demonizing the "racism" of the domestic working class—thereby ensuring that socialism and communism would no longer be a relevant force in politics—while the Right capitalized on the situation by distracting the working class from the actual source of the problem (capitalism) and instead encouraging the proletariat to focus on the immigrants themselves (e.g., their strange customs, "propensity for crime", and so forth).

Even today the Issue still resounds in the predominatly white working class communities up north many of the old Labour heartlands are now the areas the BNP get good support.

That's unfortunate, but I view this as another failure of the Left. This is precisely where left-wing nationalism will succeed where cosmopolitanism failed.

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"Nationality. . . is a historic, local fact which, like all real and harmless facts, has the right to claim general acceptance. . . Every people, like every person, is involuntarily that which it is and therefore has a right to be itself. . . Nationality is not a principle; it is a legitimate fact, just as individuality is. Every nationality, great or small, has the incontestable right to be itself, to live according to its own nature. This right is simply the corollary of the general principle of freedom."
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Re: Liberals and Racism

Post by TheocWulf on Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:33 pm

Celtiberian wrote:
TheocWulf wrote:The same can said of the UK in the 30s and 70s the average worker was to an extent xenaphobic perhaps even racist but it was the point in our history when our union power was in its hayday.On one hand the workers demanded pensions,health and safty,higher wages ect and on the other they were worried about non English/British people takeing "our jobs".The cosmo left who made up the elite of unions of course never really adressed the issue and that gap was filled by the National Front who in the 70s were a radical left wing working class movement.

This seems to be a fairly uniform phenomenon across multicultural nations. The coercive laws of capitalist competition, and the ever present lust for further accumulation, compelled the bourgeoisie to inflate the size of the labor market in order to depress wages. The most effective method to accomplish this task was obviously to encourage immigration. The domestic working class predictably reacted negatively to this introduction of foreign peoples into their nations, who they (correctly) viewed as being threats to their livelihood. The cosmopolitan Left, in turn, responded by demonizing the "racism" of the domestic working class—thereby ensuring that socialism and communism would no longer be a relevant force in politics—while the Right capitalized on the situation by distracting the working class from the actual source of the problem (capitalism) and instead encouraging the proletariat to focus on the immigrants themselves (e.g., their strange customs, "propensity for crime", and so forth).

Even today the Issue still resounds in the predominatly white working class communities up north many of the old Labour heartlands are now the areas the BNP get good support.

That's unfortunate, but I view this as another failure of the Left. This is precisely where left-wing nationalism will succeed where cosmopolitanism failed.

Agreed

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Re: Liberals and Racism

Post by Altair on Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:40 pm

Everything I said applies in certain instances, of course. I don't think a capitalist system will cease to exist completely with the end of racism in the workforce. The benefits racism can provide for capitalism, however, will diminish once the issue dissolves, which will make the system weaker in the process. I firmly believe every effort counts.

Celtiberian wrote:That capitalists are responsible for the intraclass conflict which arose between Black and Caucasian workers during the Reconstruction Era is beyond dispute. But I believe you're committing a non sequitur when you infer that Caucasian workers suddenly began to view Blacks as somehow being inferior to themselves when they became willing to work for relatively less than Caucasians. Why wouldn't they have thought of Blacks as being inferior prior to this? Especially considering that it was routinely taught (from scientific courses to church pulpits) that Blacks were lesser people. Indeed, this view was so pervasive at the time that even union leaders and socialist theorists regarded Blacks as being innately inferior to Caucasians. It's quite possible that Caucasian and Black farmers entered into a strategic alliance with one another out of their class interests, while nevertheless holding prejudicial views toward one another.

I was not implying that Whites only began to think Blacks were inferior after that incident. You are the one assuming that. My point was that the situation furthered existing racial prejudices, because now White farmers (and other Caucasians) were being "supported" in their sentiment that Blacks are inferior to them, because the Blacks were willing to take "inferior" jobs. They certainly already thought of Blacks as inferior prior to this...that was never disputed.

Celtiberian wrote:How so?

The prejudices that made themselves extremely apparent in the past still exist today in the mind of the modern racist. Have you never heard the argument from any racist in the US, that some people are "just supposed to make more"? They use this to justify their views and capitalism itself, more often than not. Where do you think this notion came from, their asses? Sadly, it has historical context -- which I have illustrated.

Celtiberian wrote:Minimized by who, exactly? Certainly not the cosmopolitan Left, as they have been obsessing over this issue for years now.

They have been concerned with the issue, but they have ignored (for the most part) what exactly perpetuates racism, from what I understand, though I could be misinformed.

Celtiberian wrote:I also believe the capitalists benefit, although perhaps not to the same extent as you think they do. Finland, for instance, is an overwhelmingly homogenous nation insofar as ethnicity and culture are concerned. The Finnish bourgeoisie cannot be benefiting much by racism, and yet the system continues to persist. The social welfare concessions undoubtedly must have helped, but the primary reason must be that Finnish capitalism, like capitalism in most of the West, was doing relatively well until the contradictions of the system began to manifest themselves recently. Racism isn't the only form of false consciousness, nor is it the most detrimental.

I have already acknowledged the poor wording in my first post, but I rectified it in my last. My point was that an end to racism could potentially lead to greater solidarity between heterogeneous workers, which could in turn make it easier to overthrow the entire system in the end. I am not implying that an end to racism in the workforce will bring about any certain change, only that every "small" step taken is a step closer to the abolishment of Capitalism. Certain other circumstances must of course exist for a revolt to take place (class consciousness must first exist, and understanding of the system's exploitation, etc.).

The title of this thread includes the word "racism", not other forms of the system's exploitation. Of course I am focusing on racism specifically because that one if the topic's main subjects. It was never my intent to elevate racism above the other issues with capitalism; I was merely focusing upon it more because that is the issue at the forefront of this particular thread. scratch

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Re: Liberals and Racism

Post by Celtiberian on Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:20 pm

Altair wrote:I was not implying that Whites only began to think Blacks were inferior after that incident. You are the one assuming that.

Perhaps, but I feel it was a fair deduction considering you wrote: "the racial prejudices at the time led Whites to believe the Blacks were inherently worth less because they were willing to work for less." There's no way to prove that assertion and I just don't believe that the fact Blacks were willing to receive a lower wage than Caucasian workers led to their being viewed as worth less than they previously were.

The prejudices that made themselves extremely apparent in the past still exist today in the mind of the modern racist. Have you never heard the argument from any racist in the US, that some people are "just supposed to make more"? They use this to justify their views and capitalism itself, more often than not. Where do you think this notion came from, their asses? Sadly, it has historical context -- which I have illustrated.

That's merely a form of rationalizing existing wealth disparities. It can become racist—as in the case of someone claiming that certain racial groups, on average, are inherently less capable than others—but it's frequently expressed in a non-racist manner. I wouldn't consider it a justification for capitalism either, unless, of course, someone was literally arguing that certain people have to be remunerated significantly more than others in order for an economy to function.

My point was that an end to racism could potentially lead to greater solidarity between heterogeneous workers, which could in turn make it easier to overthrow the entire system in the end.

Attempting to end racism is an idealist exercise in futility, in my opinion. (And I don't mean that to be insulting, only that I consider the view that people can be profoundly changed solely by introducing them to new ideas to be impractical in certain instances.) However, if you define "racism" as the belief that oppression is justifiable against whatever racial groups are deemed "inferior", then I don't believe most working class people are racist at this point. They may prefer the company of people most similar to themselves, but that's just part of the human condition. Outright racial animus is fairly rare and in decline.

Diversity, unfortunately, is an impediment to class cohesion. Consequently, the best radical organizations in multicultural nations can do is refrain from alienating the ethnic majority and try their best to unite all people along class lines. Even if ethnic groups are distrustful of or even actively hostile toward each other, if material conditions are appropriate, class consciousness can be attained within the proletariat nonetheless. Trying to tell people they must associate with other races more often—so as to forge a sense of solidarity—however, will likely be met with hostility and ridicule. The last thing working class people want is someone or group telling them who they should or shouldn't associate with.

The title of this thread includes the word "racism", not other forms of the system's exploitation. Of course I am focusing on racism specifically because that one if the topic's main subjects. It was never my intent to elevate racism above the other issues with capitalism; I was merely focusing upon it more because that is the issue at the forefront of this particular thread. scratch

I wasn't criticizing you for discussing racism, I just took issue with a few aspects of your analysis and responded accordingly.

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Re: Liberals and Racism

Post by sytar on Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:03 pm

Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry S. Dent, Sr. and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [the new Southern Strategy of Ronald Reagan] doesn't have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he's campaigned on since 1964 and that's fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster.

Questioner: But the fact is, isn't it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, "n!gger, n!gger, n!gger." By 1968 you can't say "n!gger" — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "n!gger, n!gger."

-Lee Atwater, Former RNC Chairman

I think that the left is correct in saying that the right is very largely driven by racism. Over 50%+ of Republicans think that Obama wasn't born in this country. Many peer-reviewed political psychology studies have shown a strong connection between prejudice and right-wing attitudes. I live in the Deep South and racism is very much alive down here, but the labor vote in this country didn't always used to split like this. It's only after LBJ signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act that the South split. My feeling on the Civil War is that it never ended. The South lost the war but won the peace.

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